At least 60 people were killed and over 400 injured in Pakistan on Monday when a major earthquake of 7.5 intensity with its epicentre in Afghanistan hit parts of the country, media reports said. The Pakistan Army has been put on alert….reports Asian Lite News
The quake was felt in most of the northern parts of Pakistan including such major cities as Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sargodha, Quetta and Multan, officials said.
At least 18 people were killed in Peshawar city, according to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani, reported Dawn, while over 100 injured admitted to the city’s Lady Reading Hospital.
Elsewhere in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa, three people were killed in Mansehra, two in Charsadda, and 13 people were killed in Chitral, which fell closest to the quake’s epicentre. Eight people, including four children, were killed in the Bajaur tribal region near the Afghanistan border after buildings collapsed in the area, it said.
Eight people were killed in Swat Valley, while nearly 200 injured were brought to Swat’s Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital.
In Punjab, a child was killed in Kallar Kahar area of Chakwal district and one in Rawalpindi’s Raja Bazar area, one woman was killed in Sargodha and 10 others injured in a wall collapse and one in Kasur district when a house roof collapsed.
One death was reported from Mirpur in Pakistani Kashmir and three in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Dunya News TV reported that a part of Bala Hissar fort in Peshawar had been damaged.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khatak declared an emergency in all hospitals, an official statement said.
Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa said troops had been directed “to carry out immediate rescue work in any affected areas without waiting for formal orders”.
Army teams had been sent out for a quick assessment of earthquake damages across the country, he said in a series of tweets.
The official added that all command military hospitals had been put on high alert, and helicopters and earthquake rescue machinery were on standby.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilise all resources to ensure the security of citizens of Pakistan. All agencies have been directed to move out with their resources.
President Mamnoon Hussain has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the natural calamity.
India Offers Help
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately offered help to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Hundreds of thousands of people fled out of their houses and offices in Delhi and adjoining areas as well as in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. There were no reports of casualties but there was major damage to property in Kashmir.
The tremors, around 2.40 p.m., were distinctly felt for 30-40 seconds, shaking high-rise buildings all across north India. The epicentre of the quake lay in Jarm in Afghanistan, 256 km northeast of Kabul.
Most multi-storey public and private buildings in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, suffered huge cracks. Dozens of houses and school buildings collapsed in southern and central parts of the Kashmir Valley, officials and residents said.
Traffic came to an abrupt halt as vehicles started swinging on shaking roads in the valley. A traffic flyover in Srinagar developed cracks.
Prime Minister Modi said India was ready to provide help to Kabul and Islamabad.
“Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone’s safety,” he tweeted.
“I have asked for an urgent assessment, and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked people not to panic and said disaster management teams had been activated.
Among the first to tweet in the Modi government was Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who said as if someone with a firm hand was moving her chair.
“Massive, massive… praying,” is how Delhi’s Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra reacted.
As the tremors began, Delhi Metro immediately halted its services all across the capital and in the neighbouring regions of Gurgaon in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Jaipur Metro too followed suit.
A Delhi Metro spokesman told IANS that the services were resumed after officials did a quick check for possible damage to infrastructure and rail tracks.
The worst hit were Afghanistan and Pakistan. There were no immediate reports of casualties from Afghanistan but Pakistani officials said around 13 people had been killed in different parts of the country.
India’s ambassador in Kabul, Amar Singh, told IANS over telephone that he had no report of any casualty or damage to property among Indians.
Afghanistan soon felt a major aftershock — measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale.
The quake was felt in most of the northern parts of Pakistan including major cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Sargodha and Kohat, Dawn and other Pakistani media quoted officials as saying.
Four people were killed in the Bajaur tribal region near the Afghanistan border after buildings collapsed in the area.
A child was killed in Kallar Kahar in Chakwal district and six people were killed in Swat Valley. One woman died in Sargodha in Punjab when a wall collapsed, also injuring 10 people. A man was killed in Kasur district.
At least 200 people were admitted to a hospital in Swat and another 100 in a Peshawar hospital, officials said.
Dunya News said a part of Bala Hissar fort in Peshawar had been damaged.
Pakistan puts its army on alert, and directed it to carry out immediate rescue work in affected areas without waiting for formal orders.
Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa tweeted that army teams had been sent out for a quick assessment of earthquake damages across the country.
All command military hospitals were placed on high alert.